“Real-life Pinterest” — that’s how Homestead Gardens hardgoods manager Steph Stowell described the experience of shoppers admiring the tree display at the Severna Park store.
Homestead Gardens is currently filled with about 26 decorated trees, each with its own unique theme and its name printed on a disk.
“We have Old Bay, the Chesapeake and underwater,” Stowell said when rattling off the different themes. “But then we’ll have very traditional things like Santa, snowmen and penguins.”
Last year, Homestead Gardens added the Tipsy Penguin, a “pub” located in the back of the store within Evelyn’s boutique. There, visitors will also find a chandelier tree and candy sweets tree.
“It has bourbon, funnel cakes, things like that,” Stowell said of the candy tree.
The sweets tree is one new addition this year. Also new for 2022 is a safari tree and one of the store’s two 12-foot creations, a blue tree called “Blue Skies At Night.” Most of the other trees are 9 feet tall.
Some of the displays are altered each year while others are replaced.
“We’re engaging a lot of that not just on sales but on excitement and what people are talking about,” Stowell said.
With 200 to 300 ornaments adorning each tree, and plenty of extra fixings, the project is a labor of love.
“With every tree, we try to have some fabric element whether that’s mesh, a ribbon or both,” Stowell said. “We have what we call silks or stems – those are all the things that stick out. That’s all stuff that is seen in modern tree decorating.”
The process starts as early as February when a Homestead Gardens manager attends shows and conventions, as far away as Dallas and Atlanta, to see what new items manufacturers are offering. Team members pick themes by June, and a team of about 10 people gathers in early September to put it all together.
The trees are not for sale and Homestead Gardens does not send staff to decorate trees for homeowners. But the store does offer artificial trees for purchase.
Stowell hopes that many visitors can enjoy the display this year, have their Pinterest moment and ask questions like, “How did you do this?”
“The goal for us is not necessarily to just sell you what you need but to inspire you and give you ideas,” Stowell said. “If you come through here and don’t buy a thing but get an idea or get excited for the holidays, we have done our job.”